A little bit of knitting: My Audrey In Unst Cardigan

This is the Audrey in Unst Cardigan pattern by Gudrun Johnston: ‘a vintage inspired cropped cardigan with a bib of Shetland Lace.’

6tag_140815-234147

I actually cast this on on holiday in the middle of August so it’s taken me three months to knit. There have been times when I have been more enthusiastic than others so it’s been picked up and put down quite regularly.

The yarn I used was Cascade 220 sport, one of the heathers called Lake Chelan. It’s 100% Peruvian wool which has been a change to the merino of my last couple of projects. I’ve found that my most worn cardigan is my green Miette which is also a heathered Peruvian. It seems to keep its shape better than the drapiness of merino and this cardigan needs a bit of body to prevent droopy lace work.

It was straightforward to knit, there’s a lot of twisted rib to start with but once past the waistband it’s plain sailing. The back and underarms are put on hold while the front lace yoke is knitted. The lace is really easy to do, basically passing a slipped stitch over four stitches. The back is knitted and joined to the front at the shoulders with a three needle bind off resulting in the neatest shoulder seam I’ve ever done (I’ll probably use this method in future) The sleeves are picked up and knitted in wrap and turn short rows. The only time I had to rip it back was three quarters of the way through the first wristband when I realised I’d been on auto pilot and been working in plain rib rather than twisted. I hesitated as no one apart from my mother in law would have noticed but then the thought of that made me do it again!

Towards the end of the second sleeve I began playing a game of yarn roulette, It was getting low but I was hoping to get to the end. I went to the point of weighing what I had left to work out the yardage but then I chickened out and ordered another skein. As it turned out I only needed it for neckline, it looks like someone is getting a green hat for Christmas!

WP_20151121_012

WP_20151121_009

As it’s wool it’s recommended a 30 degree handwash. I decided to take my usual risk and put it through the hand wash cycle in my machine. I blocked it to the measurements given and used the buttons which I’d bought from Guthrie and Ghani at SewBrum.

WP_20151121_023

WP_20151121_035

WP_20151121_031

I really love the finished cardigan, the colour is perfect, I was aiming for a sea green but ordering online is always a gamble as you can’t see the true colour until it arrives. I do spend a lot of time looking at yarn on ravelry and seeing how they look made up on the project pages but it’s so difficult to get a true colour on a photo.

The wool holds the lace really well and the longer length is a lot more practical for the cooler weather.   It was quite an enjoyable knit and it’s highly likely I’ll knit it again. It’s quite straightforward and the instructions are excellent so an advanced beginner should be able to tackle it easily.

I’m just relishing a few quick projects now, I’ve finished a Wiksten Snoflinga hat and next up’s a cowl. I just need a relaxing respite before I commit to something a little longer and involved!

Advertisements

My Anglesey Chuck Sweater

As you may know from my last post (and my grumbling on Instagram) I haven’t had much time to sew over the last couple of months. I’ve theoretically had time in the evening but I’ve been too tired and sewing when tired means I make a complete mess of things. I have however managed to do a bit of knitting: this is the Chuck Sweater by Andi Satterlund:

6tag_210615-205000

The yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash in Provence (colour 1975) from Laughing Hens. It’s a really soft merino wool which I’ve used for my last two Miettes. The colour is a very Tomatoey Red, a bit darker than the picture shows.

I cast on a Large which is a 41 inch bust. There are three stitch patterns for the cabling, the outer two are easy but the centre needs a bit of attention. It started out really well, the back was knitted then put on hold, the shoulders were picked up and then the neckline cast on. I got to the point where the underarms are cast on and it gets joined in the round without making any mistakes…. Then I realised it was twisted at the shoulder and I’d twisted my stitches when I cast on the front neckline! There were tears, I threw it in the corner and swore a lot. I spent a day sulking but decided to get back on the horse and sort it out. I painfully ripped back all the cabling and started again at the neckline (making sure I didn’t twist it this time)

6tag_160715-222537

As is usually the case I made a few mistakes second time around and had to rip back a few rows but I eventually got to the bottom of it. I added one repeat of the first stitch pattern at the bottom to add a bit of length. I think it looks a little off balance though so if I knit it again I’ll have to have a rethink about how to add length. Although it took a few weeks to knit the body I managed to steam out both sleeves in five nights. I can never figure out why it takes so little time to knit a sleeve, anybody who sews will know that a sleeve is surprisingly big when laid flat, the time versus surface area continuum seems to be slightly skewed for some reason. I knitted the sleeves to the pattern, they are designed to be three quarter length but on me they were full.

WP_20150828_003

WP_20150828_011

I got a bit of a spurt on finishing as we were off to Anglesey for the week. Going by how great the British summer has been I was determined to be prepared and a sweater seemed far more practical than a new swimsuit. As it was the first three days were scorching hot (I burnt my knees knitting on the beach!) and although it did get a little overcast at times the rest of the week the rain mostly left us alone. Here’s some location shots, the not so little one acted as photographer but I could only get him to take a few before he went off rambling over the rocks.

WP_20150817_017 2

WP_20150817_007

WP_20150817_008

I really love the finished sweater and with Autumn just around the corner (or rather knocking on the door) I know it’ll get a lot of wear.

 

The final instalment of the Deer and Doe Sureau Trilogy (and a Miette Cardie)

After making my last two wearable muslins of the Sureau I finally felt brave enough to cut into the liberty Mitsi fabric (the pattern and fabric was a Christmas present so I really didn’t want to mess it up!)

WP_20150321_015 1

For this final version I:

  • Cut a 44 in the shoulders and 46 for the bust and waist (no FBA)
  • Shortened the side zip
  • Added side seam pockets
  • Moved the gathers down a bit so they were in line with my bust apex
  • Curved the waist darts
  • Added a little cuff to the sleeve

It came together really quickly but not without sacrifice, while attaching the skirt to the bodice I was concentrating so much on keeping the gathers straight that I sewed straight through my finger!

WP_20150324_019

I didn’t hem it as short as last time and ended it just around my knee, I figured I can get away with a shorter skirt if I am wearing tights but exposing my bare saggy legs is not a good look (especially with how white and pasty they are after the winter!) I spent ages looking for the right buttons and eventually settled on the mother of pearl flower ones.

WP_20150404_074

WP_20150404_069

WP_20150404_034

I have been taking a good objective look at which things I actually wear in my wardrobe, particularly knit wise. My most worn RTW cardigans are Navy (one plain, one polka dot) and grey (again one plain and one polka dot!) I usually pick yarn purely on whichever colour takes my fancy at the time which has led to some lovely cardigans but with fairly limited ‘wearability’. I decided to fill an obvious gap by knitting a Navy Miette. I have knitted the Miette twice before and for me it is the perfect cardigan; fitted and simple with a little bit of lace to add interest. Another plus is the raglan sleeves, I’m quite broad in the shoulders and I’ve found that set in sleeves can look quite boxy on me, (I slightly resemble a rugby player!)

WP_20150222_004

I cast on a size 42 and used Cascade 220 in Navy 854 bought from laughing hens. The only modification I made was adding 4 inches to the length (another 20 rows) I blocked it in my usual fashion by putting it through a wool wash in the machine. I used ten mother of pearl buttons, 2 more than the pattern to account for the extra length.

WP_20150404_066

WP_20150404_063

WP_20150404_057

I finished both in time to wear for the Easter weekend. I love the whole outfit and have worn the cardigan almost constantly since it was finished (I’ve since cast on another Miette in Silver Grey!) I like the style of the Sureau and now I’ve added the pockets it’s earned a place as a TNT pattern in my collection (pockets are a serious deal breaker for me!)

WP_20150404_076

WP_20150404_010

 

WP_20150404_021 1

 

WP_20150404_014

 

The Liberty Tana Lawn is lovely to sew with. I’ve got some Liberty Cotton Poplin to try which is possibly going to become a Chardon.

WP_20150410_001

I also took the plunge and bought two and a half metres of their Summer Tana Lawn which I’ve been lusting at for over a year (No idea why they named it Summer, it’s the least summery fabric they have) I’m thinking of a simple dress with possibly a pleated skirt, not decided on a pattern yet though so I might try using the Emery bodice and drafting my own skirt (I’ll definitely be making a wearable muslin first)

WP_20150410_002

I was hoping to have enough of the Mitsi left over to make some matching knickers but I’m afraid it wasn’t to be. It has reignited my longing for more Liberty knickers though, I’ve found a couple of remnants that are big enough so I think I’ll have to start the production line again soon!

Kate Davies Owl Sweater

A bit of knitting today, I finally finished my Owl sweater!

I cast this on just after Christmas and finally finished it a fortnight ago so it’s taken me around six weeks. I could have finished it lot earlier as the chunky yarn knits up really quickly.  However, I only get chance to knit in the evenings when it’s frequently too late and I’m too tired to do anything. The pattern is Owls by Kate Davies and it’s probably one of the most popular patterns on Ravelry.

I used Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds Chunky Undyed yarn in Mid Brown Jacob which is available from Laughing Hens.  (It’s actually more brown in real life but i’ve struggled to get a true picture) I love the idea that the yarn is undyed and the colour of the sheep from which it came, here’s a Brown Jacob in all it’s glory:

brown jacob

There were a couple of reasons for my yarn choice, the main one being it was the one suggested for the pattern and the right yarn for the gauge, the thought of adapting the pattern for a different weight yarn fills me with dread (and I know I’d bugger it up and end up with a sweater that would fit a seven year old!). I had been contemplating some shade of purple but in the end thought an owly colour would be more appropriate. The yarn is quite raw and slightly itchy, every now and then I’d come across a bit of hay. It has softened up quite a bit since washing but it still warrants wearing a t-shirt underneath.

WP_20150217_010

The sweater is knit bottom up and in the round. The body is put on hold while the sleeves are knit and then it is all joined together before starting the owly yoke. I knit a size 6 which I think is a 42 inch chest, there is a couple of inches of negative ease in the final measurements. I actually knitted a gauge swatch for once and was pleasantly surprised when it was spot on. I based the length of the body and sleeves on an old sweater I have which is the perfect fit. (so nice to have sleeves the right length!) There is an extra Owl for each size increase and I ended up with twenty one on mine. The Owl pattern is really easy with only three rows of cables over the ten row pattern. I was a bit undecided about the button eyes, I initially got some mother of pearl ones but they stood out far too much, luckily I found these tiny brown buttons in my local haberdashers which I think are perfect. Sewing on 42 buttons however was a real chore!

WP_20150217_004

I blocked the sweater by putting it through a wool wash on my machine followed by a short spin (to the horror of my mother in law who was convinced it would shrink!)   I then laid it out on a towel shaping it to the final measurements.

WP_20150217_009

WP_20150221_007

Overall I love this pattern, it’s quick and easy and would be perfect for a beginner. It’s exceptionally warm, I haven’t needed a coat when I have worn it so it’s perfect for working on the project. I should get a few weeks wear out of it before the weather warms up and I can look forward to wearing it again when the Autumn comes around again!

Some finished knitwear – Peggy Sue Cardigan

I have some knitting to post today, the Peggy Sue Cardigan, a free pattern by Linda Wilgus from Woolly Mammoth Knits: ‘The design is vintage flavoured and was inspired by the pin-up sweaters of the 1950’s. As the cardigan is cropped, it’s a fairly quick knit in a DK- weight yarn. The shaping in the waist comes from the cabled ribbing pattern, which is also found on the collar and cuffs.’

To say this was a long time in the making is an understatement, I think it was May when I cast this on and I’ve only just finished it! I used SMC Schachenmayr yarn which I purchased from Laughing Hens, I’ve not knitted with this brand before but decided to give it try as the price was very reasonable. It’s a double knit ‘Extra Soft Merino Alpaca’ (80% Merino 20% Baby Alpaca) the colour is 06002, it’s supposed to be Midnight Blue but I think it’s more of an Airforce Blue (a blue, grey purple!). I used seven 50 gram balls, 930 metres. I knit the large size which is a 42.5 inch bust, the sizing goes from small (34 inch) to 3X (54 inch).

It’s a seamless raglan sleeved cardigan, knitted from the top down on circular needles (I used 4mm). The collar is one set of the four row cable pattern. The upper body is stocking stitch with raglan increases and then the sleeves are put on hold while you knit the rest of the body.

I think I just got bored while knitting the upper body, there were increasingly long rows of stocking stitch which wasn’t enough to keep me interested. It ended up languishing at the bottom of my knitting bag for quite a while and was destined to be an eternal UFO. I did actually knit my Myrna in the middle and was just about to start something else when the other half nagged me to pick it up again. I reluctantly agreed not to buy any more yarn until it was finished.

InstagramCapture_0825c091-1c81-4dcb-9c06-9bfb021b9af1

Once I had taken the sleeves off things improved, there was still a lot of stocking stitch but at least the rows weren’t as long. The pattern has three decreases on a row in the middle of the back which I was a bit puzzled by as they are in a very visible position. I decided to move these to the sides so they weren’t noticeable. The cable ribbing is a five stitch four row pattern. I was quite excited to get to the cabling as at least things were getting interesting. The pattern repeat was simple to remember and although the cable row was a bit fiddly it was easy enough to do. I think I got about halfway through before my initial excitement seriously started to wane, at that point I just wanted to get it finished. My sense of achievement when I finally finished the body was coupled with an overwhelming feeling of relief!

InstagramCapture_96907f8c-a049-4021-9b0c-e824367f13db

WP_20141013_002

The pattern has short sleeves but as it was getting into Autumn I decided to lengthen them as much as I could. Once I finished the body I had nearly two full 50 gram balls left so planned to just keep knitting until I was nearly out of yarn. Once the sleeve measured 4 inch from the armpit I started decreasing 2 stitches every 4 rows. The pattern only has one repeat of the cabling for the cuffs but as I was doing longer sleeves I wanted a bit more depth so ended up doing three repeats. The button band is done in moss stitch. It suggests 8 buttons but I increased it to 10.

WP_20141030_004 1 (2)

WP_20141101_024

WP_20141101_031

Although it did take me ages to knit I’m glad I finally finished it. My mother in law was getting quite frustrated with me, frequently offering to do it for me but I’m not one to admit defeat. Once she starts knitting she doesn’t stop until she’s finished and can easily whip up a jumper or cardigan in a week. I go at a far more leisurely pace and, as with sewing, have to avoid doing things when I’m tired as my concentration wanes and I’m prone to making mistakes! I do really like the finished cardigan, the length is perfect and the cabling gives it a nice fitted shape. The colour is good and will be a useful neutral in my wardrobe. I do recommend this pattern, it’s a lovely little cardigan to knit. I think if I knit it again I will possibly go a size down as it might benefit from a bit more negative ease. I don’t know when I’ll knit it again but I will. I think it’s a bit like childbirth in that you forget all the pain after a while, I’m sure I’ll get to the point when I have worn it so much I’ll want another one in my wardrobe!

 

Outfit along Myrna Cardigan and Simplicity 1803

outfit along

Lauren of Lladybird fame and knitwear designer Andi from untangling knots have been hosting a knit/sew along with a difference, to make a dress and knit a cardigan thereby creating a whole outfit. I signed up straight away, having already knitted two Miettes and a Marion of Andi’s designs. I love her patterns, they have a vintage feel and seem to go with everything, they are also perfect to wear over dresses.  Andi’s new pattern released for the outfit along was Myrna and the dress pattern suggested was Simplicity Project Runway 1803. You could use any patterns you wanted but I decided to give these ago as they were new to me and looked kinda cute.

Here’s the Myrna description which explains everything far better than I could!:

‘This sassy cardigan is the perfect layer to keep on hand for breezy summer nights and cold movie theaters. Its full short sleeves keep it from being too warm, and the cropped length is perfect to go with airy dresses and full skirts. Eyelets surround the edges of the cardigan, and a keyhole on the back adds a fun extra detail. The sweater is knit seamlessly from the top down. The upper back is knit first and then put on hold. Stitches are picked up and knit for the upper fronts, and the pieces of the body are joined together when the underarms are cast on. The cardigan has waist shaping to give it a fitted look, and once the body is complete, stitches for the sleeves are picked up from the armholes and shaped using short rows. The cardigan fits best with 0-3 inches of negative ease.’

WP_20140601_17_23_40_Pro

I used Cascade 220 yarn in 813 Blue Velvet, a worsted weight yarn. The ball band suggested 4.5mm needles but the pattern stated 5mm so I went with the 5mm.  Based on my measurements I opted to knit a large, bearing in mind the pattern has 2 inches of negative ease. I must admit that I didn’t knit a gauge swatch but just dived straight in and cast on. This is the knitting equivalent of not making a muslin and all my mother in laws fault!  I used to knit a swatch to check my gauge but she never has, she just picks up her needles and starts knitting. Out of laziness and a sense of living dangerously I have since done the same! There was a mistake on the gauge stated on the pattern, it was given at 18 x 24 stitches but should have been 18 x 28. It was only when this problem was flagged up on Ravelry that I began to have a quick panic as I was well into the body by then. I tentatively reached for the ruler and began to count, the knitting fairies must have been looking on me favourably as by some fluke I was spot on the 28 stitches that the pattern had been written for!

Myrna was, in theory, a quick knit but I must admit that it took me a lot longer than it should to finish. I seem to have difficulty doing things when I have to, it kind of feels like homework! I have this problem with our bookclub and am always frantically skim reading the set book the night before the next meeting! If I had knitted a couple of hours each night I would probably have had it finished in a fortnight. As it was there were considerable periods of neglect and I only really got a spurt on as the deadline began to loom!

The dress on the other hand came together very quickly. I used 2 metres of the blue cotton with gold flowers that I had been saving since I bought it two years ago (still have two metres left!) I decided to go for bodice C with the notched neckline and the pleated cap sleeves. I cut a size 12 after Laurens warning that Simplicity add 4 inches of ease in their patterns! I also shortened the bodice by an inch which I do to everything now because I am on the short side. It was quite an easy pattern but had a large facing which spanned the whole of the shoulder and was stitched to the top of the sleeve cap. I’d used medium weight interfacing for it as I wanted to try and add a bit of structure to the notch but it flopped anyway! I’ve not made anything with a facing for a while and I’ve decided that I just don’t like them! I think if I made this dress again I would try and figure out a way to line the bodice. The only change I made was to move the inseam pockets to the side seams instead of either side of the centre front panel as the pattern called for. I put my hands in my pockets a lot and they of course naturally fall to the side, I thought it would be a bit weird having pockets up front like some kind of kangaroo pouch! I used an invisible zip which was an absolute pig to get in! I wrestled with it and ended up unpicking it three times before it finally went in at the fourth try. It’s still a bit sticky, goes up OK but doesn’t want to come down again. I was on my own when I first tried it on and couldn’t get back out, was desperately trying to contort myself around, having a claustrophobic panic attack in the process, was on the verge of taking the scissors to it when it finally succumbed. Must remember I need help to unzip in the future! I also made the tie belt as I thought it needed something around the waist (and I wanted a bow!)

I spent ages looking for buttons for Myrna, I wanted gold daisy flower ones to pick out the flowers on the dress. I tried Ebay, Etsy, online button stores as well as my local haberdashery but couldn’t find the right ones. After a few weeks I half-heartedly searched Ebay again and found the perfect ones which had just been listed! I’m not happy unless I find the right buttons and I have in the past spent more on the buttons than I did on the fabric for a dress!

Anyway, here’s some a lot of pictures:

WP_20140726_11_32_47_Pro

 

WP_20140727_12_32_15_Pro

WP_20140715_20_07_38_Pro

WP_20140727_20_44_25_Pro

WP_20140727_20_45_41_Pro

WP_20140727_20_46_20_Pro

WP_20140727_20_46_55_Pro

WP_20140727_20_47_51_Pro

WP_20140727_20_48_07_Pro

WP_20140727_20_45_16_Pro

 

I’m quite pleased with how the outfit has turned out and loved the concept of combining sewing and knitting. I think if I knit Myrna again I would size down, she fits perfectly over the boobs but is just a tiny bit too big under the arms and back. Maybe this is due to my lack of gauge swatch or using slightly bigger needles or maybe I just need to figure out how to do a full bust adjustment in knitting!  I think she will get a lot of wear anyway!

Doing a complete outfit has made me realise that I tend to make things without thinking of how they will combine with my wardrobe. I think in future I will try and get some kind of coherence with my makes and highlight what colours are missing. I need to get past the ‘oohh pretty colours’ thinking I am prone to when choosing yarn and fabric. At the moment I’m craving a Mustard Miette but will have to have a good look at what I have in the wardrobe to wear with it!

Do you have a plan with your makes or are you seduced like a magpie to bright and shiny things?

Untangling knots and Lladybird’s ‘outfit along’

Lauren at Ladybird and Andi at Untangling knots have announced a sewalong with a difference: a full outfit along!  The full details are here but the basic idea is to sew a dress and knit a cardigan making up a full outfit!  Andi has designed a new pattern for the knitalong, Myrna, which has cute short sleeves, eyelets detail around the edging and a keyhole in the back.  Lauren has chosen Simplicity 1803 for the dress (but you don’t have to stick with this and can make any pattern you like!). I’ve decided to have a go at the Simplicity as it’s been a while since I sewed anything from the big four pattern companies.  Here’s the pattern and my fabric:

Image

I have had this fabric in my stash for ages and had been saving it for something ‘special’.  I think the time has come to finally cut into it.  I’m planning on making the cap sleeved dress (the pink one on the right).  The outfit along is running from 1st June until 31st July so I’ve got plenty of time to put this dress together.  I want to get my Liberty Cambie out of the way before I start on this!

The cardigan on the other hand will probably take me the full two months to complete!  I was undecided as to what colour yarn to choose.  I initially wanted to go for a gold colour to pick out the flowers but me made May has made me realise I desperately need a blue cardigan in my wardrobe so I went for:

Image

It’s Cascade 220 superwash in shade 813 Blue Velvet.  I think I’m going to go all out matchy matchy with this outfit and try and find some gold flower buttons for the Myrna!  I cast on and knitted a few rows last night and the yarn does look quite nice knitted up.

Are you planning to join the outfit along?  Do you plan your makes so that they coordinate with other things in your wardrobe?